Thursday, April 30, 2009


This is the "global flagship store" of UNIQLO, Japan's most popular apparel retailer and a worldwide leader in casual wear. The store is located in SOHO in downtown Manhattan. Rather than become characterized by a brand, UNIQLO encourages its customers to integrate its pieces into their own unique style.
Address :
546 Broadway, New York, NY 10012 USA
Telephone : 917 237-8811
Store hours :
Mon-Sat : 10AM-9PM
Sun : 11AM-8PM

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Picasso’s "The Daughter of the Artist at Two-and-a-half Years with a Boat" Headlines Sotheby’s Auction

This is a photo of the cover of SOTHEBY'S Catalog for the Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Sale. Pablo Picasso's 1938 portrait of his daughter Maya as a toddler is expected to bring up to $33.8 million Cdn at Sotheby's New York auction next week.
La Fille de l'artiste a deux ans et demi avec un bâteau (The Daughter of the Artist at Two-and-a-half Years with a Boat) will be auctioned at Sotheby's Impressionist and Modern Art evening sale on May 5-6.
It depicts Maya Widmaier-Picasso, the second of Picasso's four children by three women, as a golden-haired toddler holding a toy boat. She was born to the Spanish artist's mistress, Marie-Thérèse Walter, in 1935, while he was still married to the Russian dancer Olga Khokhlova.
As a child, Widmaier-Picasso was the subject of a series of colourful portraits with her favourite toys. This work was created just a few months after the harrowing Guernica, Picasso's protest against the bombing of a small village during the Spanish Civil War.
"It reflects the great joy that Maya brought into the artist's life, even on the eve of the Second World War," Sotheby's vice-chairman of impressionist and modern art Emmanuel Di Donna told the Telegraph.
Like many of Picasso's portraits of his family members, the work remained in his personal collection for 35 years until his death in 1973. It has been in a private collection since the 1980s.
The painting has never been auctioned before.
Maya married Pierre Widmaier and had three children, Olivier, Richard and Diana, an art historian and author whom major art houses seek out to authenticate her father's works.

EXHIBITION AT SOTHEBY'S (located at 1334 York Avenue)
Fri, 1 May 09, 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Sat, 2 May 09, 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Sun, 3 May 09, 1:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Mon, 4 May 09, 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Tue, 5 May 09, 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

More Tulips

On York Avenue sidewalk

Park Avenue traffic island
Near The Plaza

First Avenue and 60th Street
I like tulips.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Little Italy

This is Little Italy, a neighborhood in lower Manhattan once known for its large population of Italians. The neighborhood has become more of a tourist destination than a residential neighborhood. Previously, Little Italy spread from Canal Street north to Houston Street. Today, the section of Mulberry Street between Broome and Canal Streets, lined with Italian restaurants popular with tourists, remains distinctly recognizable as Little Italy. Last Saturday night, we visited Little Italy and had dinner at a fine restaurant called Il Cortile, located at 125 Mulberry Street. Little Italy is worth visiting for delicious imported Italian groceries and to see the Old St. Patrick's Cathedral, as well as a chance to glimpse some of the restaurants and bars made famous by gangsters and members of the Rat Pack.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Greek Independence Day

Today is the 188th Anniversary of Greek Independence and thousands of Greek Americans from New York and other states converged in Manhattan for the annual parade on Fifth Avenue. Before the parade commenced, we caught a performance by some Greek dancers from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania near The Plaza. Above are some photos of a traditional dance by the group. To complete our "Greek experience" of the day, we had lunch at Molyvos, a popular Greek restaurant at 871 7th Avenue, between 55th and 56th Streets near Carnegie Hall.

Forces of Nature Dance Theater Company for Earth Day in Central Park

Forces of Nature during rehearsals in Central Park's Bandshell

"Rock the Bike" provided power to the sound system for the event
Some members of the FORCES OF NATURE DANCE THEATER COMPANY performed earlier this afternoon in Central Park's Bandshell as part of the EARTH DAY festivities. I made these images during their rehearsal. The day’s activities included live performances, planting and mulching projects, tree-care and composting demonstrations, environmental education, and crafts with recycled materials. In addition to Forcs of Nature, kids entertainer Billy B., the Puppeteers’ Cooperative’s Rites of Spring, and spoken-word artist Kelly Zen-Yie Tsai performed. The sound system used for the day’s performances was powered by Rock the Bike, which uses energy produced by bike pedaling to run its PA. 

From Forces of Nature's website:
Executive Artistic Director/Choreographer Abdel R. Salaam and Executive Managing Director Olabamidele Husbands co-founded the Forces of Nature Dance Theater Company in 1981.Along with founding company member Dyane Harvey, Forces has produced high quality ballets, conducted dance classes and presented concerts and educational programs in New York City ,the United States, and throughout the world for over 23 years.
Forces of Nature’s cultural matrix is centered in an African and an American intelligence that is global and ecological. Its aesthetic has been critically acclaimed as visceral, thought provoking and creatively brilliant. Forces of Nature utilizes a unique blend of performing arts, which includes contemporary modern dance, traditional West African dance, ballet, house and hip-hop forms as well as live and recorded music and the martial arts.
1)To develop a choreographic "language" that educates as well as empowers the viewer with a synthesis of images of the African diaspora and American culture;
2)To stress through the creative arts the importance of living with respect and in harmony with nature;
3)To utilize arts and culture as tools for enhancing human services and social reform.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Earth Fair at Grand Central

The annual New York City Earth Day (EarthFair) was held inside Grand Central Terminal in Vanderbilt Hall and also outside of the terminal. 

Organized by the nonprofit organization Earth Day New York, the event featured dozens of exhibits and free live music for kids and adults. Exhibitors included Clean Air New York, Farm Sanctuary, the Rainforest Alliance, and many others. There was a long line for Clear2Go bottles at the fair. Clear2Go’s built-in water filter can filter up to 100 gallons of water (equivalent to 757 bottles of water). Its NanoCeram NASA-derived filter technology reduces harmful tap water contaminants like aesthetic chlorine, cryptosporidium, giardia and many more. Musical entertainment was provided by local NYC bands.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Andy Warhol's DOUBLE ELVIS

This artwork is called "Double Elvis", 1963, silkscreen ink on synthetic polymer paint on canvas by Andy Warhol (American, 1928-1987). It's on display at the Museum of Modern Art.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Claes Oldenburg's Giant "Typewriter Eraser"

On display outside Christie's Auction House in Rockefeller Center is Claes Oldenburg's giant "Typewriter Eraser, 1976." I made his image last April 12. This piece will be auctioned on May 13 during the Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Sale at Christie's. Claes Oldenburg (born January 28, 1929) is best known for his public art installations typically featuring very large replicas of everyday objects. Another theme in his work is soft sculpture versions of everyday objects.
From Christie's website:
Lot Description
Claes Oldenburg (b. 1929) 
Typewriter Eraser 
signed, titled, numbered and dated 'Claes Oldenburg TYPEWRITER ERASER COPYRIGHT (C) 1976 CLAES OLDENBURG 3/3' (on the reverse)
painted aluminum, stainless steel, ferroconcrete and bronze 
89½ x 80 x 70 in. (227.3 x 203.2 x 177.8 cm.) 
Executed in 1976. This work is number three from an edition of three. 1/3, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts; 2/3, Nasher Collection. 
Pre-Lot Text
Margo Leavin Gallery, Los Angeles
Acquired from the above by the present owner on 18 August 1978 
G. Celant, Claes Oldenburg: An Anthology, New York, 1995, p. 337 (another example illustrated in color). 
The Art Institute of Chicago, 72nd American Exhibition, April 1976.
New York, Leo Castelli Gallery, Claes Oldenburg: Log, May 1974-August 1976, November 1976, pp. 100-108 (illustrated as a work in progress). 
Lot Notes
Produced in 1976, Typewriter Eraser presents a giant disk-shaped eraser that appears to have just alighted on the ground, the bristles of its brush turned upward with a sense of dynamic grace. Oldenburg transforms this once ubiquitous office accessory into a grand monument. In 1970, he began to sketch its mass-produced form, placing it into imagined landscapes in order to explore the idea of using it for a giant public sculpture.

Oldenburg's fascination with elevating mundane objects to something "higher" first manifested itself in his Store project -- a "store-cum-art-gallery" -- first presented at the Martha Jackson Gallery in New York in 1961, and then resurrected in a shop-front on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. With the Store, Oldenburg embraced the commodities of materialist culture as subject matter, re-creating foodstuffs and merchandise in brightly painted plaster and kapok stuffed canvas. Spending time in Los Angeles in the fall and spring of 1963-64, Oldenburg was inspired to approach the product lines of industry and technology using manufacturing methodology, and he gradually began to abandon the malleability, tactility and fleshiness of his soft-sculptures to create works that could withstand the elements and that more accurately resembled the objects he was representing

The concept of typewriter eraser writ large had initially presented itself as "a fine anti-heroic subject" for a colossal sculpture to be placed outside an office plaza on Manhattan's Fifty-seventh Street. This now obsolete item of stationary had been a favorite plaything from the days when Oldenburg visited his father's office as a boy. Although this project was never realized, Oldenburg remained strongly attached to this strangely exuberant object and continued to use the idea for a number of drawings, prints and sculptures in varying scales and mediums, including this metal and cement version executed in a small edition of three.

Oldenburg's fixation on the metaphoric power of the things that surround us can be seen to stem from those Dada and Surrealist artists who extracted items encountered every day and elevated them into the rarified realm of art. His sculptures undergo a metamorphosis of scale similar to that found in the paintings of Magritte, yet Oldenburg does not tend to distort the function of his chosen objects or to place them in bizarre juxtapositions, but celebrates the singular qualities that distinguish them from all other things. He stated, "We do invest religious emotion in our objects. Look at how beautifully objects are depicted in ads on Sunday newspapers. It's all very emotional. Objects are body images, after all, created by humans, filled with human emotion, objects of worship" (C. Oldenburg, quoted in M. Rosenthal, "Unbridled Monuments; or, How Claes Oldenburg Set Out to Change the World," Claes Oldenburg: An Anthology, New York, 1995, p. 259).

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

A Burst of Color - Earth Day

Today is Earth Day, a day designed to inspire awareness and appreciation for the Earth's environment. It is held annually during both spring in the northern hemisphere and autumn in the southern hemisphere. It was founded by U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson as an environmental teach-in in 1970 and is celebrated in many countries every year. The United Nations celebrates an Earth Day each year on the March equinox, a tradition which was founded by peace activist John McConnell in 1969.
Last Saturday, I made the image above of colorful tulips in full bloom in front of a condominium building on 60th Street and First Avenue.
From wikipedia:
Tulipa, commonly called tulip, is a genus of about 150 species of bulbous flowering plants in the family Liliaceae. The native range of the species includes southern Europe, north Africa, and Asia from Anatolia and Iran in the west to northeast of China. The centre of diversity of the genus is in the Pamir and Hindu Kush mountains and the steppes of Kazakhstan. A number of species and many hybrid cultivars are grown in gardens, used as pot plants or as fresh cut flowers. Most cultivars of tulip are derived from Tulipa gesneriana. The species are perennials from bulbs, the tunicate bulbs often produced on the ends of stolons and covered with glabrous to variously hairy papery coverings. The species include short low-growing plants to tall upright plants, growing from 10 to 70 centimeters (4–27 in) tall. They can even grow in the cold and snowy winter. Plants typically have 2 to 6 leaves, with some species having up to 12 leaves. The cauline foliage is strap-shaped, waxy-coated, usually light to medium green and alternately arranged. The blades are somewhat fleshy and linear to oblong in shape. The large flowers are produced on scapes or subscapose stems normally lacking bracts. The stems have no leaves to a few leaves, with large species having some leaves and smaller species have none. Typically species have one flower per stem but a few species have up to four flowers. The colourful and attractive cup shaped flowers typically have three petals and three sepals, which are most often termed tepals because they are nearly identical. The six petaloid tepals are often marked near the bases with darker markings. The flowers have six basifixed, distinct stamens with filaments shorter than the tepals and the stigmas are districtly 3-lobed. The ovaries are superior with three chambers. The 3 angled fruits are leathery textured capsules, ellipsoid to subglobose in shape, containing numerous flat disc-shaped seeds in two rows per locule. Although tulips are associated with Holland, both the flower and its name originated in the Persian empire. The tulip, or lale (from Persian لاله, lâleh) as it is also called in Turkey, is a flower indigenous to Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan and other parts of Central Asia. It is unclear who first brought the flower to northwest Europe. The most widely accepted story is that of Oghier Ghislain de Busbecq, Ambassador from Ferdinand I to Suleyman the Magnificent of the Ottoman Empire in 1554. He remarks in a letter upon seeing "an abundance of flowers everywhere; Narcissus, hyacinths, and those which in Turkish Lale, much to our astonishment, because it was almost midwinter, a season unfriendly to flowers". In Persian Literature (classic and modern) special attention has been given to these two flowers, in specific likening the beloved eyes to Narges and a glass of wine to Laleh. The word tulip, which earlier in English appeared in such forms as tulipa or tulipant, entered the language by way of French tulipe and its obsolete form tulipan or by way of Modern Latin tulīpa, from Ottoman Turkish tülbend, "muslin, gauze". (The English word turban, first recorded in English in the 16th century, can also be traced to Ottoman Turkish tülbend.)

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Beauty Queen VS. Queen of All Media

TV Screen Photo of Miss California Carrie Prejean at Studio 1A, NBC Studio at Rockefeller Plaza in midtown Manhattan
Video from

In this morning’s The TODAY Show on NBC, celebrity blogger and Miss USA 2009 judge Perez Hilton and Miss California Carrie Prejean discussed the latter's controversial response to the judge's same-sex marriage question at this weekend’s Miss USA pageant in Las Vegas.
Ms. Prejean insisted that her politically incorrect answer, proclaiming that marriage is between a man and a woman, “cost her the crown,” she told Matt Lauer that she “wouldn’t change a thing.”
“No, I would not have answered it differently. I said no offense to anybody, but with that question specifically, it was not about being politically correct. For me it was about being biblically correct.”
“I am so proud of myself,” Carrie said.
Perez Hilton, the openly gay judge who asked the question during competition, participated in the discussion via Skype. Hilton, the self-proclaimed "queen of all media," eloquently argued that Miss California alienated many Americans with her anti-gay marriage response—because Miss USA is supposed to represent all Americans.
Do you side with the beauty queen, or the self-proclaimed "queen of all media?"

Monday, April 20, 2009

JAMES SURLS Sculpture Blooms on Park Avenue

Ten Big Standing Bronze Flowers (2008)

All Diamonds (2006)
Knot and Needle (2007)

Walking Molecular Flower (2008)
Big Bronze Walking Eye Flower (2009)
Again, The Flower, The Tree, The Knot and Me (2009)
Colorado artist JAMES SURLS is exhibiting his large-scale bronze and stainless steel sculptures along the Park Avenue Malls from 50th Street to 57th Street through July 1st. 
James Surls is an internationally renowned artist known for creating monumental wood and metal sculptures. Based on natural forms, Surls’ constructions are created using his own iconic imagery of diamonds, vortexes, needles and flowers. Surls’ repetition of forms has created a personal visual language of his own, making each sculpture both a unique work and part of interconnected series. Born in East Texas, James Surls has been based in Colorado since 1998. His artwork has appeared in numerous international and national solo and group exhibitions. He has works in the permanent collections of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Dallas Museum of Art, Los Angeles County Museum, Museum of Modern Art and Whitney Museum of American Art. Surls was instrumental in bringing a national spotlight to East Texas, where he worked and lived from 1977-1997, in part by becoming the founding director of the Lawndale Annex, a dynamic alternative space. Surls was given the Living Legend Award by the Dallas Visual Art Center in 1993 and is currently represented by the Charles Cowles Galley, the Gerald Peters Gallery and the Barbara Davis Gallery.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

2009 Project Dance

Yeterday, PROJECT DANCE offered a free all-day outdoor dance concert dedicated to the City of New York by dancers from all over the world who believe dance can renew the human spirit, bring hope and healing, and change lives. I took the photos of one of the performers yesterday at Broadway and 44th Street.
Mission of Project Dance (from
Project Dance® is a movement of dancers seeking to positively impact culture through artistic integrity. Our desire is to see every dancer nurtured to their fullest human potential for their own wellbeing and their contribution to the world. We offer training, education, and performance opportunities for dancers worldwide who desire to dance with integrity to inspire.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Lobster Trap and Fish Tail by ALEXANDER CALDER

This piece by ALEXANDER CALDER (American, 1898-1976) called "Lobster Trap and Fish Tail" is on display at a stairwell at the Museum of Modern Art. Made of painted steel wire and sheet aluminum, this artwork was commissioned by the Advisory Committee in 1939.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Philanthropist

Image from the roundabout theatre website
Earlier this evening, we saw the revival of the British play called THE PHILANTHROPIST. Starring two-time Tony Award® winner Matthew Broderick, the play is set at an elite British university, and is about nice-guy professor Philip (Broderick), who ponders everything from marriage and anagrams to the meaning of life. In refusing to succumb to his colleagues' excessively critical ways, Philip winds up destroying his own credibility in the twisted world of academia...and in the bedroom! The play has some funny moments, but this is not my cup of tea. The only thing that kept me awake was the recorded music played between scenes. The Philanthropist plays the American Airlines Theatre on 42nd Street between 7th and 8th Avenues.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

April showers, April flowers

On my short walk home from work earlier this evening, the light rain did not prevent me from taking photos of the lovely spring flowers along the way. These photos were taken near the entrance to the New York Presbyterian Hospital/Cornell Medical Center, in front of one of the apartment buildings on York Avenue, and in my apartment building's courtyard. The short life span of the blooms of tulips, magnolia, hyacinths and daffodils reminds us of the transient nature of life and the lesson of enjoying the moment. Maybe that's why I enjoy capturing their beauty in pictures...they last longer.

Monday, April 13, 2009

"Is ADAM LAMBERT gay?": The New York Times on the American Idol Favorite

Adam Lambert performing "Dancing Through Life" in the LA production of the musical WICKED (youtube video from razzledazled)
Featured in yesterday's Sunday Styles Section of the New York Times is an article by Guy Trebay entitled, "American Idol's Big Tease." The articles focuses on the popular and very talented contestant of the singing competition American Idol, ADAM LAMBERT. A clear favorite to be the next winner, Mr. Lambert sets off the internet's "gaydar." He dyes his blonde hair black, uses eyeliner, loves Cher, not into sports, and is "in touch with with his inner Maybelline girl." Is he, or isn't he? Can a gay contestant win? In my opinion, it shouldn't matter. This is a singing competition after all. And if Mr. Lambert decided to publicly address the the burning question, America will probably be yawning. Here is the New York Times article in its entirety:
You are Adam Lambert, the contestant widely tipped as a favorite to be the next winner of “American Idol.” And the only thing standing between you and riches and the chance to play arenas may be a question currently burning up the Internet: Can a gay contestant win?
Leave aside for a moment the answer to such a question, or even whether Mr. Lambert is gay. He may be. He may not. Fox, which owns “Idol,” is not saying; neither is the contestant himself.
What is notable is the intensity of the insinuations caroming around the Internet and in certain corners of the mainstream press — that and the fact that even asking whether a gay contestant can win a broadly popular reality show, whose survivors are selected by public acclaim, seems increasingly anachronistic in light of decisions in Iowa and Vermont to extend marriage rights to gay men and lesbians.
Still, ask they do. Pointing to “embarrassing pictures of Mr. Lambert circulating on the Internet,” photographs that show someone who looks uncannily like the contestant tongue-wrestling another man, the conservative commentator Bill O’Reilly inquired last week on his Fox News show, “These pictures that hint that he is gay, will they have an effect on this program, which is a cultural phenomenon in America?”
Cultural critics with a broader frame of reference than Mr. O’Reilly’s can easily contextualize Mr. Lambert in a long line of performers who tantalize the public with their talent and equally with their gender ambiguities. Think of Liberace. Think of Prince or Bowie or Elton John or K. D. Lang or Pete Wentz. “We have always had that person” on the pop landscape, said Aaron Hicklin, the editor of Out magazine. “The difference now is that previously the conversation about sexuality has not been as public. When Liberace was around, there was no real way to talk about this stuff.”
Now, of course, there is no way and no reason to stifle conversation about the signals Mr. Lambert appears to send in the form of song choices pilfered from the hope chests of anthemic divas (Cher’s “I Believe”); his bio (he was a child who enjoyed dressing up a lot but sports “not so much,” said his father in an on-air interview); and a theatrical style at times so arch that his country-night version of “Ring of Fire” evoked for Sarah Chinn, the executive director of the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, “Joey Arias channeling Billie Holiday channeling Johnny Cash.”
According to a Gawker post last week, the “applause-o-meter” had Mr. Lambert pulling way ahead. “Might we actually get a Kris/Adam finale?” read the item, referring to Kris Allen, a generic teen idol type with a waxed cowlick and a lopsided smile. “Might, also, we get a Kris/Adam somethin’ else?’ Hah, doubtful. No one sees Adam without his skinsuit on, except maybe that fetching, fey little blond character they keep cutting to and describing as Adam’s ‘friend.’ ”
Predictable as the snarky innuendo is, it also struck a discordant Roy Cohn note, coming in the week when Vermont’s Legislature voted to override a veto by the governor and recognize gay marriage, adding the Green Mountain State to Connecticut, Massachusetts and Iowa in a list of states actively advancing the cause of civil rights for gay people. “The entire system is changing so rapidly it is not to be believed,” said David Ehrenstein, a Los Angeles based film critic and scholar who writes the hilarious Fablog.
America’s heartland, he said, turns out to be politically contiguous to its notoriously liberal coasts. “Iowa is apparently infested with San Francisco values,” he said.
Even the White House made a point of inviting lesbian and gay families to join in an annual Easter Egg Roll.
Thus it seems plausible that a person with more than a toe peeking out of the closet might actually win the most hotly contested singing show on the planet. True, it took six years of public insinuation before Clay Aiken, the popular also-ran from Season 2, made the choice in 2008 to come out. When he did so, however, the anticipated career-stall never happened. The news was greeted with a collective yawn.
“I see us as living in the post-Neil Patrick Harris era,” said Mr. Ehrenstein, referring to the actor who in 2006 trumped online efforts to expose his sexuality by publicly declaring himself gay to People magazine. “He crossed the Rubicon. He did the ‘sudden death’ play. Supposedly you come out and your career is over. He came out and his career is in better shape than it ever was.”
It is worth remembering how radical a shift this is in the public consciousness and that a half century ago, in the 1950s when the film producer Marina Cicogna first found herself in Los Angeles, as she recently told W magazine, studios forced Rock Hudson into bogus relationships with women and obliged gay actors “to lie from morning to night.”
In 1959 Liberace, the camp artifact best known, as one critic wrote, “for beating Romantic music to death on a piano decorated with a candelabra,” sued an English newspaper for libel for implying in print that he was gay. Given his taste for lacquered pompadours, rhinestone jumpsuits, white mink coats and pneumatic male personal assistants, it is hard now to imagine Liberace believing his public was deceived. But then it is still hard to square shifting public opinion with that of an industry that forces its gay talents to hide in plain sight.
When asked on the witness stand whether he was homosexual, Liberace emphatically told a judge: “No, sir! I am against the practice because it offends convention and it offends society.” He won the suit and damages and then, much later, was named in a $113 million palimony suit by his partner Scott Thorson.
“For a long time, gay men were very sensitive to being associated with effeminacy,” said Mr. Hicklin of Out. “It was highly objectionable, an example of stereotyping and caricature.”
Being photographed in drag or, as Mr. Lambert apparently was at the Burning Man Festival, wearing makeup and a thigh-high halter dress revealing enough to bring a blush to the cheeks of J. Lo, is far from a career-killer these days. “There was a common set of signifiers in theater and TV and popular culture that implied gay,” Mr. Hicklin said. “Gay men came to embrace all that because it came to feel far less threatening to be labeled in that way.”
Also, somewhat unexpectedly, heterosexuals took up the playfulness of gender ambiguity. “The gay thing got derailed by the way many straight guys started playing with image,” Mr. Hicklin said. Metrosexuals followed homosexuals out of the closet. Pete Wentz posed for the cover of Out. “Pete Wentz wears makeup and clearly is confident enough not to be threatened by any assumptions his fans or nonfans might come to,” Mr. Hicklin said.
Like Mr. Lambert — whose more steadily assertive gender games are likely to reach an apotheosis this week when the “American Idol” contestants are asked to perform their favorite movie song — performers are now free to treat real or putative gayness as another show business tool, a peekaboo game, a ploy. So-called low forms of sex relationship that entertainment industry codes once kept from being depicted on movie screens are now so routine a feature of pop culture that when “Saturday Night Live” recently parodied the proliferating pop references to sexual experimentation in a sketch titled “The Fast and the Bi-Curious,” the Entertainment Weekly critic Ken Tucker slapped the show down for using jargon that “feels old and overused.”
Unlike other reality shows, said Joe Jervis — a gay activist blogger whose recent mention of Adam Lambert on his site Joe My God generated 50,000 hits from people searching the term “Is Adam Lambert Gay?” — the contestants on “American Idol” aren’t voted off their little show business island by one another. Love them or hate them, it is up to America to choose.
“The show is squarely in the hands of the viewers,” Mr. Jervis said. It is just that vox populi aspect of “American Idol,” he said, that demonstrates radical changes “in the popular view of openly gay people.” That may be. But it is certainly also worth noting that a Revlon habit is no surefire tip-off to gayness, latent or otherwise. Ask Marilyn Manson. Ask Devendra Banhart or Brandon Flowers or any of the other members of groups sometimes called “eyeliner bands.” For that matter, why not ask Kiss?